Vegan Quito…off the beaten track experiences
Quito is ruffling her feathers and the shackles of conservatism are slowly being shaken off. Quito wants to show you that she has changed and that she’s not the gal she was ten years ago. Quito is coming into her own. She’s the veritable Phoenix Rising. And she is rising in many, many ways. Enter vegan food and vegan eats in Quito!
In what is traditionally the ‘meat and carb show’ (be prepared for lots of meat and 101 ways to cook carbs!), Quito’s vegan food scene has recently gone off in a big way. With so many places wanting to jump on the bandwagon of healthy eating and saving the planet, Quito Bike Tours wanted to be part of this movement … and met some amazing people and projects along the way.
Quito Bike Tours offers two tours; the Cultural City Tour by Bike and the Explore Urban Quito on a Bike. In both tours, we have hand-selected awesome places to visit, things to see, people to meet and food to eat. We try a range of food and wanted to include vegan. Depending on the opening times of our tours and if and when the particular vegan restaurants are open, we stop along the way. And even if we don’t, there are many that we like to support … because that’s what we do … support awesome initiatives and awesome people!
Vegano de Altura
Run by delightful sisters Emilia and Andrea, this is one of our favourite eateries in Quito. Once upon a time (last year!), they had a small (but very popular!) place in the funky La Floresta neighbourhood. Now they have a bigger place (but the food is just as good!) still in La Floresta and their equally as delightful parents Maria Eugenia and Marcos help out. It’s a family-run affair with great vibes and amazing food. We go there almost as much as to get a hug as we do to eat the food.
You will be surprised by plates such as oyster mushroom ceviche, vegan hamburger, spicy beans and the famous Friday yucazo (cassava pattie). All juices are freshly squeezed and the smoothies and coffee will keep you powering on through the day! They also have a range of different products from cheese made from cashews to protein bars to an array of gluten-free delights. Always busy … once you try the food, you will know why! Vegano de Altura, La Floresta
The four gals who run this recently opened cafe are the new kids on the vegan block! Sisunga is a house and garden that contains food, sweets, feminist books, coffee, groceries and handicrafts. Its garden is a true hideaway in the midst of this bustling city. In the colloquial Manabi language, the Sisunga is a coladora (or colander) filter or drain food. ‘La Sisu’ is also an expression that the Manabas women use to refer to the lactating breast with which they feed their babies. In Sisunga, the girls seek to feed people, ideas, artistic expressions and feminist struggles in the ‘heat of our homemade stove’. It is a place to enjoy delicious foods, flavours and recipes … from the planting of the products until they are served at your table.
In Sisunga, they work closely with rural women and their families, producers of agro-ecological food. The vegetarian and vegan recipes they prepare are their way of paying tribute to them. To eat vegan or vegetarian is also part of a philosophy under which they seek to act with greater justice against a system that exploits and markets the land and the work of women.
Apart from tasty food, they also have excellent coffee, such as espressa and americana. No, these are not spelling mistakes, the spelling is in honour of all women.
Come join the hummingbirds in this great space … feel at home, be inspired and share with other people who have your same desire to eat yummy food whilst believing that transformation is possible.
Relax and enjoy the tranquillity and great food at Sisunga
Flora Perma-Cultura Restaurant
And it’s vegan too! I mean, there are only so many things you can place in a title, right! Flora is a not-for-profit holistic space that offers plant-based food, which is also organic as well as non-GMO. It was born in 2016, its founders passionate about healthy food and an ecological-regenerative outlook on life.
“The objective of Flora is to be a self-sufficient and resilient restaurant, an urban example of a conscious life for future generations, seeking freedom for animals and for Mother Earth.”
FLORA practices fair trade directly with producers of local farms, who apply agro-ecology and/or permaculture techniques, creating a more meaningful direct relationship between food, producers and consumers.
This place is all about helping to waken personal and global consciousness. Give the food at Flora a try!
This is another vegan/ vegetarian restaurant that’s been around for a bit longer than some of the others. It offers a-la-carte or a set menu (very popular in Ecuador and many other countries in South America). They too focus on organic and natural products. They also have a store where you can buy a range of vegan food and facial/ body products. If you are looking for some yoga pants or clothes from India, you will not be disappointed.
Check out Donde Gopal.
This all-vegan, activist restaurant is not-for-profit and its proceeds go to Fundacion Libera Ecuador (a foundation committed to the vindication of the rights of nature and of all animals, including human beings). Located right in front of the ‘Mirador de Guápulo’, offering spectacular and sweeping views of the valley, the restaurant can also claim to be the first non-profit, vegan, ecological and fair-traded restaurant in the country.
Chairs and tables are made from reclaimed wood and metal, and the glasses made from recycled bottles. Oh, and the food and drinks are varied and tasty. It also has a good selection of locally produced craft beer.
Are you ready for some great food with a great view!
The Vegan World Market
This fair is held on the first weekend of every month in Quito’s central La Carolina Park. In March 2019, The Vegan World Market (TVW) celebrated a year of sharing, reporting and presenting ventures that promote environmental awareness. You can find a range of local producers selling vegan, organic and gluten-free goods from chutneys, to brownies, to quinoa drinks to lentil and chickpea sausages. There are also several educational activities such as workshops, lectures and cooking demonstrations that are given on the days of the fair.
Entrance to the Vegan World Market is free. Enter the Mundo Juvenil, located in La Carolina Park. The hours of operation are from 9.00am to 6.00pm.
Check out a range of vegan delicacies here!
Pacari Chocolate is a family-owned company, dedicated to making the highest quality organic chocolate. It started operating in 2002. 100% organic! 100% sustainable! 100% committed to the sustainability of the ecosystem within Ecuador! 100% social responsibility and 100% vegan and gluten-free! It’s some of the best chocolate in Ecuador and in the world. This may be news to some, but Ecuador has some of the finest cacao in the world … and that cacao becomes chocolate!
You will find Pacari all over Ecuador and Quito from supermarkets to boutique food stores.
You will not be disappointed with the food nor the sights. Jump on a bike tour and experience Quito. Take a look at Friends of Quito Bike Tours where you can get a discount on a range of services, including some of the cafes and restaurants they have mentioned above.
Ride With Quito Bike Tours!
Tours & Bike Rentals
Do You Love Cycling? If the answer is yes, then ride with Quito Bike Tours to explore Quito on a bike whilst discovering its history, culture, street art and local food. You’ll definitely meet great people and make new friends!
Explore Urban Quito on a Bike and Quito Cultural City Tour by Bike. Whilst they both explore the city, the former takes you through verdant parks, the Botanical Garden and shows you a part of modern Quito where the latter is more about cultural immersion, where you get to meet local artisans and see some funky street art. In both tours, you get to sample some local drinks and fare, as well get to view the city from some lovely vantage points. We have both group and private (groups of two or one) options. We can also customise a tour to your specifications … just ask us!
But that’s not all! Quito Bike Tours has bicycle rentals too. Need a bike for half a day? Need it for a month? Something in-between? Take your pick.
What is the Quito Bike Tours Mission?
We passionately share 30 years of travel know-how, exploration and detours with you. We want to motivate you to experience this amazingly diverse world we live in and show you how to do it! You can subscribe to our blog as well as follow us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Do you have more tips, advice or suggestions on what to do in Quito? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
One Life, Live it!
Photo Credits: ©Alex Benavides & Ombretta Zanetti Photography for very itchy feet.